Confidence and good horses are a tough combination to beat. Right now, Joel Rosario is benefiting on both fronts.

The 26-year-old jockey won four straight races (the first, second, third and fifth; he had no mount in the fourth) at Santa Anita Saturday to take a 17-16 lead over Rafael Bejarano in the jockeys’ standings. Rosario finished second on his last four mounts in races six through nine.

Next Saturday, Rosario rides the favorite in the $65,000 Anoakia Stakes, romping maiden winner Sister Moon for John Sadler in the six furlong test for 2-year-old fillies.

Sister Moon worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in a bullet 1:11.60. The daughter of Dixie Union owned and bred by Jerry and Ann Moss won her maiden race on Aug. 21 by 9 ¼ lengths under Rosario, who was aboard for Saturday’s drill.

“She worked good and she was really impressive in her maiden win,” Rosario said. “That was on Polytrack and Saturday she runs on dirt, but she’s been working good. We’ll see how much better she gets when she runs.

“She has a lot of talent. She’s classy. When you ask her to go, she’ll do whatever you ask her to, and that’s most important. There’s no need to rush her into longer races right now. The race at Del Mar was her first one and we didn’t know what we had, but it turns out it was really impressive.

“Right now we’re just working with her and we’ll see what we’ve got.”

Despite his success on Saturday, it’s a sure thing Rosario won’t win a race at Santa Anita today. He rides at Woodbine, where among his mounts is Kara’s Orientation in the $1.5 million Canadian International.


Bruce Headley is the rarest of horsemen: he doesn’t own a cell phone. Old school to the core, the 76-year-old trainer is a hay, oats and water man. It’s been a successful modus operandi throughout his career of nearly half a century, producing champions such as Kona Gold, the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner.

Headley’s immediate focus is on M One Rifle, winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2009, who has his designs on the $100,000 California Cup Sprint at six furlongs on Oct. 29. The 5-year-old gelded son of One Man Army has been working brilliantly towards the race since finishing an uncharacteristic seventh in the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 2.

“He worked in 10 and change Friday (a bullet 1:11.20 on the work tab),” Headley said. “He’s right on schedule. He ate everything Friday night. He feels good and he’s happy. He didn’t even sweat Friday, didn’t turn a hair or blow hard.”

Headley attributes the disappointing Triple Bend outing to an eventful incident late in the stretch run of the Los Angeles Handicap one race earlier, on May 30.

“He was involved in all that bumping,” Headley pointed out. “He got really slammed and they moved him up to second (from third).

“So the next time I ran him, he didn’t run that good (finishing seventh by nearly 10 lengths in the Triple Bend). He got bruised somewhere from that bumping, so I just took him home and kept training him and put him in a paddock with Bermuda grass.” Headley has a 2 ½-acre spread in Arcadia where he provides TLC to his charges as needed.

“I bought two tons of sand and made a big pile so that he could roll in it every day,” Headley continued. “In 11 days I started trotting him on the turf course and then turned him back out in the paddock all day.”

It’s a regimen Headley has employed throughout his career.

Kona Gold was just one of Headley’s steeds that enjoyed a romp in the sand. “Any horse in the world likes to roll,” Headley said. “That’s one of their ways to scratch itches, get insects off their body and shed hair. It makes a horse feel good.”

FINISH LINES: Acclamation remains at trainer Don Warren’s barn at Santa Anita where he’s unwinding before shipping to Fresno to recover from a heat issue in his right leg that surfaced after the 5-year-old horse won his fifth straight graded stakes, the Grade II Oak Tree Mile on Oct. 8. “He’s still at the barn and will probably remain here for another couple weeks,” owner/breeder Bud Johnston said Sunday morning. “He’ll be let down slowly and then he’s going to go to the farm. That’s the plan, at least. Plans change, but that’s the plan today.” . . . Lady’s Secret winner Zazu, prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, worked four furlongs at Santa Anita Sunday in :46.40 . . . Peter Miller, who saddled Purple Starduster to win Saturday’s second race, hopes to race three-time stakes winner Comma to the Top once at Hollywood Park before running in the Grade I Malibu Stakes, traditional opening day feature at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. “He worked a half-mile (Sunday at Hollywood Park in :51.40),” Miller said. “He looks great and we’re hoping to run him at least once at the Hollywood fall meet and perhaps set him up for the Malibu.” . . . Dallas Keen won his first race of the meet Saturday when 12-1 shot Future Covenant led throughout the seventh at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf by three-quarters of a length under David Flores. Keen’s wife, Donna, reports that John Sadler purchased one of their ponies, Jake, for $9,000, which will be donated to the Remember Me Rescue fund in Texas benefiting retired Thoroughbreds. Their website is . . . ShowVivor lost 11 players yesterday, dropping from 68 to 57 going into Sunday’s card . . . Next Saturday is Stadium Blanket Giveaway Day at Santa Anita. All fans at the track will be able to take home a new stadium blanket free, with paid admission, while supplies last . . . Barry Abrams is proud of the creditable sixth-place finish in a field of 18 runners posted by Unusual Suspect in Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup in Australia, a forerunner to the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 1. “He is the first California-bred horse to run in the Caulfield Cup in the history of the race that was first run in 1879,” said Abrams, who added that the son of Unusual Heat would run back in the $10 million Melbourne Cup under the guidance of trainer Mick Kent. Unusual Suspect carried 125 pounds to victorious Southern Speed’s 116 and earned $75,000 in the Caulfield Cup…Happy Birthday to Patrick Valenzuela, who turns 49 on Monday.